January 27, 2010
Who Is The Black Ace?
The Black Ace with his Mystery Squadron of flyers has threatened a dam project nearing completion in New Mexico. If completed, the project would flood the Black Ace's secret gold mine. Ace flyers Fred Cromwell and Bill Cook are recruited by an old friend to find out who the Black Ace is and to stop him and his gang.
The allegiance of Fred and Bill is quickly confused by the Mystery Squadron and by Fred and Bill themselves for everyone associated with the dam project beginning as our heroes near the site. This finally clears up in episode 5. After that, the story focuses on smashing the Mystery Squadron and a frantic search among suspicious characters for the Black Ace. Most of the fun of this serial is in the deliberate effort to confuse the viewer.
There's a secret airbase hidden within a mountain, biplanes with attached flame throwers, and a tavern riddled with secret passages where guests with their own agendas toward the dam project and the gold mine are staying. Everyone, it seems, knows how to fly, and there's lots of it. Fun stuff.
The fistfights are more realistic than I've seen in most serials. Miniatures are used throughout and the effect is usually decent. Burning miniatures never look right. Cliffhangers are resolved believably.
I downloaded the MPEG4 files. The first episode is very contrasty. This improves in later episodes, but the print from which this was made shows it's age. Otherwise, the video and audio are ok.